tv [untitled] April 26, 2013 4:30am-5:01am PDT
the outreach that the commission does, it's a positive thing to send things out. hopefully the idea of customer service is something that you guys can bring up across during this hearing. it is really important. one of the first big issues is that everybody thinks they are dealing with one agency, mta< metropolitan transportation authority, but you are dealing with two agenc ies, mta and the cta, the county transportation authority. they have different boards that they are dealing with a lot of the same things. it seems like these two agencies never talk to each other. they bounced off of each other; they tell us, oh,
that is the cta's problem, talk to them or the cta will say, talk to the mta, but to the general public it is one agency. hopefully during the year we will get that narrowed down, and make it a little easier so hopefully we won't have to be experts in government policy and government dealings to be able to deal with them. it is a big problem. a question for all of us is, what is the mta and the cta -- sorry, repeating myself, does the mta integrate of the plants with each other? in my area, polk street, there is something called the vaeness plan (sounds like)
they will take up parking, take out left turns, all kinds of things but that plan has nothing to do with the plant they are looking at on polk street, window is only one block away. the cta says what happens on polk street has nothing to do with the vaness plan. a spokesman for the mta says that what happens on polk street has nothing to do with vanesse. it is almost like saying, the city doesn't have anything to do with the golden gate bridge at cousins not our agency so we don't have to think about it on our streets. nobody would say that but that is what they are saying to us when it comes to vanesse and polk street, and what happens on vanesse
affects mission street. what happens on polk street affects fillmore street, it is a much bigger thing than just looking at things narrowly. that is something i hope that can be brought out in hearing the maybe you can find out to convince them that's the way should be. that's a series of us that will come up and talk about some of these things and hopefully you'll get some of the questions. thank you so much. >> chair adams: thank you. >> as a speaker comes up, speak your name for the record when you start your presentation thank you. >> mitchell berg, order of bow wow miau. in the project like the on polk street
that would have the potential impact on businesses in the community that is so dramatic the business community should have been involved in the process much sooner than it was. it seems sfmta has serious outreach problems in -- and a pr problem. the coalition with small business has been left out of the loop. we were brought to the table at the point where we became a spoiler; the plans were drawn up without our input. the community residents and businesses seeing strongly opposed to the plan and yet we come across as a bad guy because we are trying to change plans that have already been put forward. the question is, why would the process not include
the community that it will impact so dramatically and the businesses that it will impact so dramatically? they claim there was outreach but none of us saw it. we had no idea. god knows we are very interested in that is why there has been so much emotion, because it was after everything had been proposed that we were brought to the table. we are the spoilers and working from a position of weakness when we should've been included in the process from the very beginning. it would have meant that the board would have come up with plans that included input from everybody not go back to the drawing board. maybe we would have been much further along.
why doesn't the board come and meet with businesses and the community prior to design? what kind of studies have they done regarding economic impact? from what i understand is that there are now studies. there are all these wonderful statistics provided by the bike ; coalition and small business people we don't have the resources to come up with statistics although if we did i'm sure that we could disprove what they are claiming to be the case. they are not talking about removing talking; they are putting bike lanes which is wonderful but we oppose the removal of parking, which will impact all the businesses in the neighborhood. did they do any research? no.
anybody who owns a business knows that you can't determine when deliveries are done to your business. why does sfmta feel comfortable removing parking from small businesses while large chains move in with a large parking lots? again there seems to be a complete imbalance. small businesses been something to san francisco. where somebody saying get rid of it large parking lots? let's keep people as pedestrians; let's build affordable housing on those parking lots. are we going to put everybody in their cars and drive the chain stores and destroy small businesses in san francisco? is that the ultimate goal? it is not
balance for small businesses. hopefully the sfmta would be better in its outreach if the goal is sincerely to include everybody in the process. so, the word " sincerity" is kind of key in this. thank you. >> chair adams: thank you very much. next speaker. >> good afternoon. my name is dan kowalski, i've been on polk street as a resident for 28 years, i've had a business on the corner of polk street and green stree for 7 years. my family has been in san francisco for five generations. in my lifetime i have seen the city change in a few strong directions. never before have i seen something so robust come forth from the
sf mta, with a great deal of hubris, whether seem to have lost the idea of the city family which we seem to have had in this town. to repeat what stephen said, as retailers we are on the frontline; we meet everybody every day and we are part of the appeal i think of this town. we are crazy enough to be in retail , but we like it so much that i think we are going to stick with it and we are fearful that our way of life what we i have a passion for and really end rather abruptly if some of these changes are made. -- having to eliminate employees and through loans from family and friends, i was able to stay in business.
still in my residence, we have not received one piece of mail from the sf mta saying anything about these proposals. my business is on a side street. my business has received nothing from the sf mta suggesting any of these proposals. the only way we heard about it was through a chain on the street the one of the smaller merchants associations, through a very late e-mail saying last-minute i want to let everybody know there is a meeting with the sf mta to approve these projects in december of last year. it is really frustrating, to get to the point to where you have invested in your business; you are good about checking your mail but you see nothing. if i had been out of town and didn't see some of this i would be late to the party just as well. there's over 300 street front businesses in the area proposed for changes. we estimate that if you look at the composite area
which includes up to market and hide and both sides of vanesse, they are part of the business community, there's well over 1000 businesses. that doesn't necessarily include home-based businesses as well. and i think there will be a dramatic effect on nearly every business is there. said businesses could survive; the problem that i see is that the sf mta even in some of their earlier language new that some of the businesses would fail. to me that is really remarkable, that they admitted that the plants will hurt some people. what did you studies about how to keep the business alive? what not use a bottom-up approach rather than the top down approach? they showed four different proposals. each proposal showed a dramatic decrease in street parking,
is not 100 percent decrease. what the issue was is pedestrian and bicycle safety, that's been lost from the equation. now it's really become admittedly a bicycle through way, north/south on polk, because it is a most level portion of that area. that makes it frustrating because if you go back to a study done in 2011, published in january, 2012, call the san francisco pedestrian task force there's about 25 different people on the board; is a strong representation from the mta; there is no presentation from small business so all the policies they proposed really don't have anything to do with the corridor that they are working on. they talk about the mechanics of the street but they're missing the function of the street.
polk is a street design is a commercial thoroughfare with business and i can't believe that they missed it that much really the biggest thing that is also frustrating that it comes down to, the mta is moving forward so fast that they think that they just need engineers, and they just need city officials to be on their board and they don't seem to have anybody on their board that is small business ,or medium-size business , or large business owner to give them some guidance and counsel. it would do them well -- it would make advocates of businesses -- , we would become advocates of the sf mta if he actually had the type of representation on the board the voice that could speak for us internally on their side so we weren't the external force trying to make them change. that's it. thank you very much. i appreciate it. >> chair adams: thank you very much.
>> welcome. >> good afternoon my name is dawn tenner (sounds like), the leader of the middle polk neighborhood association, in existence is the beginning of 2007, and the technical borders are california and broadway to vanesse and leavenworth. the issue of changing polk street came to our attention in the fall timeframe. there were some open houses that sf mta had, and the neighbors that went to these open houses were very concerned; they fit the open houses were not making sense. that there were providing options -- let's remove 75% of the parking or something
close, and let's have a different version of bicycle lanes up and down polk street. the members encouraged us as an organization to get more involved in this process and we did. we invited the sf mta to come to our meeting in november; the meeting in november was again concerning, and what we were seeing seem to be . very one-sided it seemed that the only question that was really being answered was how do they best serve bicyclists? polk street is the heart and center of our neighborhood, that is why we are called the middle polk neighborhood association. .the merchant corridor that we have is precious to us it is the neighborhood. it defines the neighborhood. an exciting, interesting, eclectic collection of individual, independent
small businesses that are doing very well in our neighborhood and we want to see them continue to do well. as such, mitchell and i got together. and brought neighbors and businesses together to have the final walk-through from the sf mta on this particular project that they were planning and that took place on january 24th, about 70 people showed up for that. a month and a half or little bit later, march 18th, the neighborhood polk association offered our meeting for the sf mta hearing, over four hundred merchants and residents came.
with the not have the organization to bus in anyway; all those people were speaking their own truths, what they wanted to see for polk street. we should not be afraid , as people working in city hall working for our neighbors, working on behalf of our neighbors. we should not be afraid to hear our neighbors but yet there does seem to be some fear of hearing those voices. and what was set on the 18th of march, those 400 voices. pedestrian and bicycle safety is very important to all of us on polk street. we want polk street to be improved. let's take it and make it better place. not only okay for bicyclists, and forget about the rest of the population
that may not be able to ride a bicycle or may not prefer a bicycle. or writing a bicycle just my not be healthy for them. that would be my individual case. people should not be cut out of using polk street as part of this improvement process. polk street should be used to serve everybody. and i want to say that the sf mta is working with us. we are meeting with them every week. i don't want to seem like they are ignoring us. they are working with us. we would like your encouragement to them that they continued to hear the neighbors and the merchants. and respond to the local efforts, and what the local people want polk street to be. thank you so much for hearing me today. >> chair >> high commissioners my name
is gwen kaplan, my business is ace mailing. we are located between the folsom and mission area, 16th street. we have exactly the same issues in the northeast mission and in all of the eastern neighborhoods. i want to emphasize the fact that the weight we first found out about they were going to completely meter all of the eastern neighborhoods was on the telephone poles, when they put up that information. this was january, a year ago. they have had some meetings with us. i guess the thing that we are so concerned about is that there is no concern
about meeting the needs of businesses. in our area we have the delivery and the pickup questions because we are pdr, production repair and distribution. we are concerned and have no understanding about why they can't notify people. first of all businesses are paying taxes so why can't we get all businesses from the tax rolls; secondly there are lists available to every neighborhood in business so it baffles me as a person who teaches direct marketing to uc berkeley . but they can't figure this out or take any suggestions for that that is extremely frustrating and part of the other problem is that they are doing a lot of their work out of the city. so for example when they do notify ,they are doing this out of hayward, and you can imagine that they would certainly hear this from me
and they do and they promised they wouldn't do it again but so far we haven't had any other notification. so with the retail that we do have in the northeast mission we wanted to survive along with our pdr zone and at our meeting in the northeast mission we had quite it group from polk street came to our meeting a few weeks ago . and i guess the thing that startled us all is that we all have the same problems we all have the same complaints. we all have the same issues with the mta. i want to thank you so much for , our hearing that is coming up and i think that we will have a lot of people here who are saying the very same thing and want our businesses to continue to survive and thrive. so thank you very much. >> chair adams: thank you gwen. >> so you heard from us in the retail corridor;
you heard from the business in the pdr district; there's also the whole financial district and downtown district. we are all affected by that. i just walked here from my home to get here. i walked down market street. if you go on market, starting at octavia and market and go to the embarcadero, there are no parking spaces for a normal commercial vehicle. the only kind of vehicle did you can park there is a heavy-duty commercial vehicle defined as six wheels. anybody like a florist, the pizza company, a messenger service with the vehicle, water delivery, anything with 4 wheels,
cannot park on that street and serve any businesses from octavia to embarcadero. there is something wrong with that picture. italy leaves a large companies able to do it. what if you have a repair truck? i passed one doing that on market and octavia. they parked on the sidewalk, their only alternative. if you go downtown, down in the financial district you will see very few parking spaces for regular delivery vehicles. they are all heavy truck deliveries. if my business wants to do business with somebody downtown i can't do it. or if i want to do it, i will have two people, one driving and one running out
to drop off the stuff. is that fair to the small business in san francisco? i don't think so. and stuff like that happens, how to get notified to the rest of the business community? whenever mta does anything, and they make decisions, loss of parking is not counted as part of any economic study. to then it is not part of the equation. i think from our point of view that should be considered. what we would like to ask you is, how can mta, the small business community , and small businesses get involved in the early stages?
you heard mitchell say we came into the process later. small business always came up to city hall for different things and we always came in. always proposed, we don't like this, we don't like that, we were always in the naysayers. this commission affords the possibility that when laws are worked out we can come to the commission and we can be part of the solution rather than going after something looking terrible about it. we would like the same thing going on with mta. we would like you guys to look into that. also, it might be really good to have somebody on the mta board, designated person from small business. our voices are just as important as everybody else. we did then some streets for our customers ; we depend on streets for our
deliveries both to and from; dependent streets for the bicyclists to come to and from. we are part of the process. we look forward to the may six hearing. we are here to help you. thank you very much. >> chair adams: thank you very much. will take comments from the commissioneers. >> commissioner o'brien: at the last commission meeting, maybe the one prior, i put a request to have the mta come before the commission and i was curious to know if there was any progress on that? >> we do have the mta scheduled for the may six meeting, and we have scheduled a fair amount of time for that formal hearing. what is being structured is for the business community to be able to inform you
of some of the issues that have been identified, questions, need direction, they said they are asking the commission to ask the mta address for the hearing so right now you are certainly welcome -- this is a formal presentation from this group of individuals to have a back-and-forth dialogue and questions; and then for you to direct staff on items that you would like to present at the may six meeting. and from the direction that you provide, we will then provide recommendations. to be presented to the mayor, the board of supervisors who are jointly the commission for the sfcta, the director of the sfcta, the county transportation, agency the director of the mta, and the director of the mta board
the proposed written recommendations. >> commissioner o'brien: the second question, i had the experience where somebody met me in my office; they were complaining about the notification process. you know, if you don't like something coming down the pike, what do you do sometimes is attack the process and say the process wasn't done right. i looked him right in the eye and i said , if i go back to the commission and i go to a lot of trouble to put this on the agenda, and do an investigation and raise the awareness of this issue, is somebody going to back to me from the agency in question and as a matter fact we did give him a notification.
i looked him in the eye, it turns out that the did get notice and .they have the opportunity to weigh in having heard what i heard today it sounds like there really is a notification issue at stake here with how the mta operates, a gaping hole. it is an opportunity for a lot of improvement on how we notify; and we are a big family and san francisco. there is some sort of a gaping hole. i did put forward the suggestion on occasions before where we have some sort of a register that we have structured, that kind of shows notices will get to the people that it needs to get to, almost a database of people who have to be notified for anything that is going to change, anything for anybody. it is clearly not working . does we are always getting this
oh, i never got notified, all the time. the apartment association to notify all of the members of the apartment community; property owners can notify people there; contractors associations. but we don't have a number of the association for the small business group if you will and maybe we need to look into forming some sort of the structure like that so that they get noticed. and i like the idea of a small . business representative being on the board if it is not, is a gaping hole in and of itself. thanks. >> commissioner dwight: i want to thank you coming to this forum. i did attend the march meeting, and stay through the whole meeting and watch the process and it was obviously a very emotional process. i actually did not agree with the characterization that i read in thpe